The Ghosts of Tin City Savannah

You can look for the location of Tin City on a map of Savannah, but you won’t find it. Like the ghosts that haunted it, the whole place just up and disappeared.

Tin City used to be east of Savannah nestled in overgrown grassland and abandoned rice fields. It was established in 1929 by an impoverished African-American man, Louis Ellis, who was granted permission to settle there. He built a home with discarded tin and scrap metal. He made a little garden for growing his own foods. Soon other African Americans joined him and they also built homes constructed of tin and junk metals. Soon Tin City became a little self-sufficient community and they even had a Mayor to represent them.

And of course they had a few ghosts

The Mayor, Nathaniel Lewis, had a short creepy annoying ghost that waited at his gate. If he talked to the spirit it would attack him, but if he ignored the spirit it wouldn’t do him harm. Naturally the Mayor pretended the ghost wasn’t there… but it was.

There were three ghosts that stood watch over what everyone believed was buried pirate treasure. The community made an attempt to dig up the gold, but just when they saw it at the bottom of the pit, the treasure fell deeper and out of reach. The three ghosts laughed and howled. Nobody went treasure hunting after that.

And of course Tin City had the usual dead folk who float around a few feet off the ground and don’t do much of anything at all. Except maybe when they fly in on a whirlwind and cause all sorts of trouble.

Tin City is gone, but what about the ghosts? Are they still there? Have they moved into Savannah and taken up residence in better accommodations?

Who knows what happens to places and people when they’re forgotten. Perhaps they linger on… waiting to be remembered.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Sherman’s Christmas Gift

As the holiday approaches some people have a long Christmas List to fill, and in 1864 General Sherman had one special person at the top of his list; President Lincoln. And the gift he gave was the city of Savannah Georgia.

After General Sherman and his Yankee troops burned Atlanta, he decided to “make Georgia howl” for their impudence and attacked the south’s civilian population. From November 15th to December 21st General Sherman embarked on his historic “March to the Sea” and led 60,000 troops 285 miles from Atlanta to Savannah. His goal was to make southerners give up their cause and to bring a swift end to the war. The northern troops burned, stole, raped and pillaged across Georgia, but nobody was howling. They we’re just really really mad.

When he reached Savannah 10,000 rebel troops flooded the rice fields so the approaching enemy could only come into town one way and that one way was heavily fortified.

But there was no battle and the reason for that gets a bit “fuzzy”. Some say General Sherman was charmed by Savannah’s beauty and could not destroy it. Others say the mayor cut a deal to surrender supplies and the city if the good citizens and their possessions would be safe. Most people believe Sherman realized the importance of Savannah as a seaport and it was in the north’s best interest to keep it intact.

And so, after six weeks of being “gone”, General Sherman sent a telegram to President Lincoln that read “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.” The fall of Savannah was given a 300-gun salute Washington DC in celebration.

While in Savannah General Sherman was cordially welcomed to stay at the Green-Meridan house. He was wined and dined with Savannah elegance. His soldiers, who’d camped out in the Old Colonial Cemetery, had a bit of fun changing the birth and death dates on old tombstones. Some people lived to be a thousand years or died before they were born. In true Savannah politeness all was forgiven. (boys will be boys, no matter if they be Yankee or Rebs)

When Savannah General Sherman left Savannah, just to give everyone a scare, he led his army around South Carolina. The residents of Charleston thought he’d burn their town, but he didn’t go there because, like today, it wasn’t on the way to Richmond. He eventually went to Columbia and marched up to Richmond. General Lee surrendered in April 1865 and that was the end of that.

There haven’t been any reports of General Sherman’s ghost haunting Savannah, and the only howling done in Georgia is heard at a UGA game by the Bulldogs.

Merry Christmas!

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Do You Think You’ve Seen A Ghost?

Have you ever asked yourself, ‘What the heck was that? Was that a ghost?’

It helps to know a little about ghost characteristics to figure things out if what you think you saw was indeed a visiting spirit from the other-side.

First possibility that it’s a ghost would be if you were in a place with a haunted history. Second would be if the image you saw was dressed in out-of-date clothing. (not an actor in period costume). Another clue would be if it does strange unusual things like walk through walls, or if an unexplained figure shows up in a photo you took, or if there’s a weird mist or an orb floating around.

If you’ve witnessed one or more of these events, then perhaps you’ve encountered a ghost.

Most ghosts reported are deceased family members. They can become visible, speak, make noises, touch you or omit an odor like cigarettes to let you know they’re there. They show up to give you comfort, provide important information or they want you to know they’re nearby.

Perhaps you’ve seen a swirling grey, black or white ecto-mist hovering about three feet off the ground. They’re usually seen in graveyards, move quickly and sometimes morph into a full-blown apparition.

Maybe you could’ve experienced a poltergeist which is a fancy name for a ‘noisy ghost’. They can knock things over, move things, throw things, turn lights off-on, and just cause a whole bunch of unwanted nonsense.

Cold spots and swirling funnels are spirits who hang around a house because, as living souls, they once lived there and don’t want to leave.

Orbs are just wayward souls traveling around who like to have their photos taken. Some even make it into videos.

If you’re confident that what you saw was a noisy, ecto-mist, cold, ghost orb that smells like grandma and goes through walls, then the next question would be ‘what the heck does it want?’

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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The Lucas Theatre

The Lucas Theatre, on the corner of Abercorn and Congress Street, in Savannah was built in 1921. It has a definite Italian Renaissance atmosphere which ghosts must especially love to haunt.

Back in the day, the theatre showed the newest silent movies, featured first-rate vaudeville acts and, best of all in 1927 it was air conditioned (which is a much needed commodity on a hot Georgia night).

In 1928, according to local legends, a group of gangsters did a drive-by shooting with Tommy Guns and blasted the outside with bullets.  The ticket taker was shot in the back during the shooting.  According to local legends, he dramatically stumbled out the ticket booth, staggered into the lobby, fell to the floor and vanished.

His ghost, trapped in residual energy, repeats this event from time to time. But there is no record of a drive by shooting, which makes you think it’s make-believe theatrics instead.

The theatre closed in 1976 and became a Savannah eyesore until it was saved and renovated. Naturally during the construction there were reports of paranormal activity; unexplained mechanical malfunctions, light from an empty projection booth, shadow people, and applause being heard in an empty theatre with no audience.

The Lucas theatre opened again in 2000. Today people can view classic films, enjoy operas, orchestras, and cabarets.  It’s the center for cultural events like The Savannah Film Festival.

And hopefully The Lucas Theatre won’t become the real scene for a modern day drive by rampage by Gangsta Ghosts!

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Tiny Ghost Man of Sandfly

Sandfly is a small community about nine miles southeast of Savannah. The people living there enjoy a peaceful relaxing life except when they happen to encounter the tiny ghost man that roams along Ferguson Avenue waiting to scare the bejeebies out of them.

It is said that, at about dusk, upon occasion a person might see a small man of questionable appearance by the roadside. He is a tiny, thin frail man so small in stature that he can’t be of much worth at all.  He has dark hallow eyes and sports a surprisingly large mustache on his ashen face.

To speak to the tiny man brings no response. To approach the man is useless because he simply disappears. Many people have seen him and all agree that he is a ghost that wanders the roads of Sandfly.

He carries a lamp to guide his way and, when the moon is full and the sky has a bit a drizzle, they say the ghost man lights up his lantern and comes out in search of hidden buried treasure.

The tiny ghost man of Sandfly seems harmless enough and doesn’t cause any trouble. Perhaps the treasure he seeks is buried under the roads or in the surrounding trees. Or perhaps he isn’t looking for treasure at all and just trying to find his way home, which is where true riches can be found, in life and in death.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Underground Creepy

Georgia’s first hospital opened in 1804 on Drayton Street in Savannah. It was a hospital for Seamen and a Poorhouse.

And since the old hospital is in the haunted historic district it’s naturally going to be occupied by the dead, the I-don’t-know-I’m-dead and the I-don’t-wanna-be-dead-yet.

In front of the building is the 300 year old Candler Oak draped with creepy Spanish Moss which adds to the spooky weirdness of the ancient building. There are reports of many ghostly patients wandering around and it’s not unusual for visitors to capture orbs or whispery images on cameras.

It served as a medical hospital, and a medical school. It even had a psychiatric ward. Oooooh…. could experimental lobotomies been performed there?

The most interesting thing about the old hospital is the underground morgue tunnel that goes from the hospital to beneath the lovely Forsyth Park. It’s believed the tunnel and low ceiling room was a staging area for the dead bodies waiting to be hauled off at night to the cemeteries.

Maybe illegal weird autopsies were performed in the tunnels or maybe it was just a cold place (underground) to store the dead from rotting in the Georgia heat until a burial place was dug.

Accordingly to the Savannah Morning News in an 1884 article, the reasoning behind the tunnel was to build an underground structure to replace the unsightly above ground “dead house”. Which makes perfect sense to the people in Savannah who like things all proper and nice-nice even for the dead.

The old Candler Hospital closed in 1980 and was renovated in 2014 by the Historical Society. It opened in 2017 as The Savannah Law.

Unfortunately, because of low enrollment the college is closing. Perhaps they should’ve opened the enrollment to include ghosts. After all, this is Savannah.

Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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Haint Blue

 

“Haints” are what some folks in the low country of southeast Georgia call “spirits”. Haint Blue is the paint color some superstitious folks put on their house’s porch ceilings, shutters and doors to keep unwanted ghostly visitors from entering their homes.

The history of the paint color comes from the Gullah people who were brought to the area as slaves. They believed haints could not cross water and they decorated their houses with blue paint to protect themselves.

The paint was a mixture of purple dye from the native indigo plant, lime, clay and water. The indigo plant is poisonous and lime is an insect repellent. With such a toxic combination painted on a home there were definitely dead bugs on the outside.

Visible evidence of the dead on the outside and nothing dead inside reinforced the belief that the dead could not cross the water represented by the Haint Blue paint.

Haint Blue paint can be seen on homes all along the Southeast coast and it does give a pleasant cool appearance to a house. Although the toxic ingredients are no longer included in the mix, one can only hope the ghost protection can still be applied with a touch of voodoo magic on the brush.

My book, Wicked Haints, is about what happened in Savannah when Haint Blue paint is removed from a house and troublesome ghost come in. It’s a quick fun read and guaranteed to make everyone laugh…. even the dead!
Books By JK Bovi
www.wickedhaints.com

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